Equine chiropractor coming for the first time -- any advice or tips?
   

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Equine chiropractor coming for the first time -- any advice or tips?

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  • Equine chiropractor worth it

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    03-06-2013, 09:12 AM
  #1
Green Broke
Equine chiropractor coming for the first time -- any advice or tips?

I have never used an equine chiropractor for my horses before, although I've always known about their potential great benefit. (Never did it before because I was relying on my parents financially during school and my dad would never "go for" my horse seeing a chiropractor!!!) But now I'm on my own and can do what I please with my own money.

So this will be a new experience for me too.

I am having him look at my 7-yr-old Quarter Horse. I don't necessarily have a particular issue, although I do feel like he doesn't stretch out as much as he could when breezing/running. I mostly just wanted him checked as a routine thing.

Anything I should ask?

Anything I should watch for?

General advice or comments about chiros?

The guy that is coming is not actually a vet, but he is also a human chiropractor and does rodeo himself, so he understands the physical requirement for rodeo/barrel racing horses. He's been highly recommended to me by others. And he adjusts only with his hands.
     
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    03-06-2013, 09:36 AM
  #2
CCH
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by beau159    

The guy that is coming is not actually a vet, but he is also a human chiropractor and does rodeo himself, so he understands the physical requirement for rodeo/barrel racing horses. He's been highly recommended to me by others. And he adjusts only with his hands.
So glad he only uses his hands! There are a few people who come through ND that have a following of horse owners. Said person(s) use mallets, have no proper training, and keep no records. I am not a fan.

I personally will only use a vet who is certified by the American Veterinary Chiropractic Association. People who can attain those certifications must be a DC or a DVM first. The reason I use a vet is because then you can get radiographs to completely see what is going on as well as any injections necessary. For instance, I had one horse who we thought had kissing spine, upon radiograph, it was learned that he had a partially healed hairline fracture of the spinous process. This changed his whole treatment plan. He also needed an injected muscle relaxant put directly into that area. That is something a non-vet chiropractor can't do.

As for the rest of your questions.

Anything I should ask?
You should be prepared to provide a history. I would expect this person to write it down. I would also expect your chiro to fill out a chart as he examines your horse. I would ask for a copy of this for your own records.
Ask him to explain what he is checking. Ask him to explain the horses level of reaction to pressure points. Ask him about follow up exercises for these points. Ask him about how many return visits the horse will need.

Anything I should watch for?
I would watch how your horse reacts. Really observe to see what helps and what doesn't. For many adjustments, a chiro needs someone to provide opposing pressure in a particular area. I would watch to make sure that he either has someone to assist with this, or asks you to.
Also, be prepared to give your horse 24 hours off, especially after the first visit. That is what was recommended to me.

General advice or comments about chiros?
I don't really believe in them for humans, and my sister is one. I'm not a fan of some of them claiming that chiro cures all. I think some really drink the kool-aid. Others are great. I have never been adjusted though; it freaks me out. However, I have seen what it can do for some of my horses *in conjunction* with a complete plan. This means you have to be willing to do the followup, do the exercises provided, and invest in additional veterinary treatment for performance horses.
     
    03-06-2013, 09:38 AM
  #3
Started
--
[QUOTE=beau159;1925033]I have never used an equine chiropractor for my horses before, although I've always known about their potential great benefit. (Never did it before because I was relying on my parents financially during school and my dad would never "go for" my horse seeing a chiropractor!!!) But now I'm on my own and can do what I please with my own money.

So this will be a new experience for me too.

I am having him look at my 7-yr-old Quarter Horse. I don't necessarily have a particular issue, although I do feel like he doesn't stretch out as much as he could when breezing/running. I mostly just wanted him checked as a routine thing.

Anything I should ask?Oftentimes horse professionals remain silent because they feel the Owner doesn't want "to hear it".

Ask questions as to what is wrong, how long before you can ground work and ride the horse again and, if they don't mention it, ask if they think the horse needs a follow-up visit in a few weeks.

Anything I should watch for?The adjustment (if one is needed) should not cause pain in the real sense of that word. It often causes discomfort because the horse has become used to living itself out of alignment but, if the chiro is worth their salt, they know how to adjust a horse without inflicting a great deal of pain.

General advice or comments about chiros? If he tries to talk you into a maintenance program of monthly or bi-monthly for XXX amount of dollars and "you can pay payments", find another chiro.

If the horse is in really bad shape, the ethical chiros will tell you he may need one or two more treatments, then call when you think the horse needs a treatment.

Otherwise one treatment generally takes care of things and the chiro will say "just call when you need me".

The guy that is coming is not actually a vet, but he is also a human chiropractor and does rodeo himself, so he understands the physical requirement for rodeo/barrel racing horses. He's been highly recommended to me by others. And he adjusts only with his hands. They don't need to be a vet to be a great chiro. My current chiro is also a human chiropractor that took additional schooling for horses. She started out doing that because her husband trains horses and there was a need. You would be surprised the "bad behavior problems" he didn't have to correct, after his wife worked on the horse(s) lollollol
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    03-06-2013, 09:49 AM
  #4
Green Broke
Thanks for all the great tips guys. I will keep them in mind.

He is also going to look at one of the horse's owned by the people I board with. She has used DMV chiropractors before. So I will get her input too on how he compares with "the awesome chiro" who is 3+ hours away from us.
     
    03-06-2013, 10:06 AM
  #5
CCH
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by beau159    
"the awesome chiro" who is 3+ hours away from us.
I think I know who you mean by this. He is the only AVCA certified practicioner in the state. He is the best I've been to yet. The facility has all the equipment necessary for treatment. Plus it is up-to-date (eg digital radiographs). I have never been to the guy you are using, though I do know his family from HS rodeo.
I would be comfortable with a DC doing work on my horse. They go to 3 years of training after undergrad, and those 3 years are all year long. It is nice that he is close to you. That reduces costs and gives you the ability to follow up. Generally, the first follow up could be within the month, then 2-3 times about 1 month apart making the initial treatment 1-4 times in the first four months. After that most people use a horse chiro 1-3 times/year. It doesn't hurt anything to go more frequently than necessary.


Another thing I didn't mention. My horses also get acupuncture and e-stim. They really like it. I think it is creepy watching them twitch. That totally makes the adjustment last longer by freeing up the muscles.
     
    03-06-2013, 10:13 AM
  #6
Green Broke
Yea and the nice part is that he works within 10 minutes of where I board my horses. So he's coming straight to us because we are so close.

Really worth it, if he pans out!
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    03-06-2013, 11:39 AM
  #7
Started
Ditto the acupuncture comments. I have seen it perform miracles on all four of my horses for various things
     
    03-06-2013, 03:12 PM
  #8
Green Broke
Yes take the money you were going to pay chiropractor, put it in the fire place on a cold night and light it on fire, at least that way you'll get some actual benefit.
These people are snake oil salesmen plain and simple. Any benefit is purely the result of a projected plecobo effect. Not even the American Chiro association , itself not very well respected, recognizes horse chiro.
You've mentioned your horse doesnt even have a problem. I bet your chiro finds all kinds of issues, that of course he/she and her spirit guide can correct for you with ongoing treatment.
Sounds like your dad is a smart man, maybe you ought to listen to him.
     
    03-06-2013, 03:44 PM
  #9
Started
My vet is also a Chiropractor and OMG he is so wonderful and informative. He explains with every step it is great. I hope you can have one just like him
     
    03-06-2013, 03:45 PM
  #10
Weanling
Joe4D has clearly never seen the way a horse can benefit from a good chiro (or a proper adjustment, for that matter), but we are all entitled to our opinions.

No single horseperson in my life has provided me as much education about healthy movement than my equine chiro, and that includes my vet. A good chiro will spend a generous amount of time watching your horse walked and trotted from many angles-- don't be afraid to ask for what they're looking for, what they're seeing, etc. A good chiro should have a trained eye for spotting any and every deviation from "healthy" movement (changes in tracking, stride, symmetry) and for identifying proper or improper muscular development. My chiro talks to her assistant and me constantly about what she is doing, where she is looking-- if yours doesn't, don't be afraid ask every question that comes to mind. It's important as momma moneybags to understand what you are paying your chiro to do, and how it will help your horse.

Your chiro will/should advise you how to proceed after the adjustment, but at the bare minimum, my chiro advises no cantering or tight circles for 3 days post-adjustment. Muscle takes time to adapt to a skeletal adjustment in order prevent things from popping right back to the way they were before.

I could go on for days, but I will say that my gelding visibly loves getting adjusted, and it has improved his movement tremendously. I've heard people say this before and thought "pshaw, that's your wallet talking..." but it's really quite true. His adjustments help keep us relaxed and moving strong.

So... tldr; I love my chiro & ask lots of questions because you should be able to identify the things your chiro is seeing, and understand how changing them will benefit your horse.
     

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